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Kuwait: 18 swine flu infected GIs leave country

All 18 U.S. soldiers infected with swine flu have recovered and left this oil-rich ally of Washington, a Kuwaiti health official said Sunday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Eighteen U.S. soldiers infected with swine flu have recovered after treatment on an American base in Kuwait and left the country, a Kuwaiti health official said Sunday.

“They were treated and they have fully recovered,” said Youssef Mandakar, deputy head of Kuwait’s public health department. He said the soldiers had shown “mild symptoms” of the disease upon their arrival at an Air Force base.

Kuwaiti authorities confirmed that the soldiers came from the United States, but would not say where they had gone, adding that the troops had no contact with the local population and were treated at U.S. military facilities.

“Kuwait is very comfortable with the measures taken there,” said Ibrahim Abdul-Hadi, an undersecretary at the Health Ministry. He said the U.S. military has examined and quarantined a number of soldiers who mixed with the infected ones as a precaution.

Kuwait is a major ally of Washington and a logistics base for U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq.

Raad Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Iraqi Health Ministry, said precautions are being taken at airports and border entry points, but he said Iraqi authorities have no authority over U.S. troops and the foreigners who enter with them.

He said the U.S. military has to administer medical tests to everybody when they enter the country, and the military must present the reports to the ministry.

U.S. Army Maj. Jose Lopez, a military spokesman, said there were no reported cases of swine flu among American troops in Iraq.

The World Health Organization’s global tally now stands at 12,022 cases and 86 deaths in 42 countries.

More than half of those cases have been reported in the United States, while most of the deaths occurred in Mexico, where the virus was first detected last month.

Poland’s Chief Sanitary Inspectorate on Sunday confirmed the country’s third case of swine flu in a 21-year-old who had just returned to Poland from the United States.

Jan Bondar, the spokesman for the state office, said the man returned to Poland on Friday and presented himself at a hospital for testing after getting a call from a friend in Washington whom he had spent time with and who had contracted the virus. The Pole’s condition is not serious, Bondar said.